Monday, 2 March 2009

Robustness Test

I was thrilled when Garden Dad, with the help of two brilliant volunteers, erected our brand new greenhouse. We had spent numerous evenings earlier in the year umming and aaahing over various models, with as much attention to detail as we gave to the purchase of our new car last year. Size mattered most, as the most consistent advice we were given was to get the biggest greenhouse our garden would allow. Then we had to consider child safety. Erecting a huge glass structure in the back garden with two young children didn't seem the most sensible option so we weighed the benefits of a polycarbonate glazed greenhouse against those of a polytunnel.

The image of a mega polytunnel filled with strawberries carried me away on a flight of fancy but we only have an average sized family garden and Garden Dad insisted that we must grow a greater variety of crops than Summer Strawberries and Autumn Strawberries. And whilst my little garden helpers might enjoy growing greens I think they would have protested just a little bit if they had lost all their garden play space simply to indulge my love of strawberries. So reverting back to a sensible size we opted for a polycarbonate greenhouse.

We ordered the greenhouse online so when it arrived I was quite astonished at how thin and wibbly the polycarbonate panels were. I had had visions of us staggering about with large pieces of perspex but these thin sheets look much like the plastic windows that let us view toys packaged in their cardboard boxes. I was rather dubious how robust these panels would prove to be.

The first test came just half an hour after the Greenhouse was completed when the snow started to fall. Every morning I would wake and peek out of the window expecting the roof to have collapsed under the weight of the snow but my fears were never realised and in addition the ground inside remained frost free. My confidence grew but I still had nagging doubts about its ability to cope with the force of high winds.

However, my little garden helpers decided that today, with the help of Garden Friend, they would alleviate these worries for me by applying as much force as they could muster to the windows to show me just how robust our new greenhouse really is. Garden Boy had proved at the weekend that the windows could take his weight when he used them for showing off his ability to stand up but this was nothing compared to the force Garden Girl and Garden Friend applied to each window as they ran around the greenhouse chasing each other and banging as loudly and hard as they could on the windows as they went. Anyone with young children will know that the force of two two year old children's drumming is enough to match any gale.

The greenhouse is still standing with all its windows intact so I am once again reassured that it is indeed robust. Whether it will remain so with continued attention from my little garden helpers remains to be seen though I am confident that the plants inside will soon become a more appealing focus for attention than the greenhouse itself. Hmmm?!

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